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MISO to issue RFP for 500-kV wires project in Texas in February

To build a 500-kV line and substation to enhance power market efficiency in Louisiana and Texas, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator plans to issue a request for proposals on February 6, stakeholders learned Tuesday.

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Formerly known as the West of the Atchafalaya Basin project, the renamed Hartburg-Sabine Junction project is estimated to cost about $130 million, with most of the costs under the current allocation methodology assigned to Louisiana but most of the benefits in Texas, according to MISO documents.

The project involves the upgrade of an existing 230-kV substation to 500 kV, the building of a new 500-kV substation, the reconfiguration of 230-kV lines and the construction of about 21 miles of 500-kV transmission from Hartburg, Texas, near the Louisiana state line, southwest to the new substation near Vidor, Texas.

At the request of utility regulators in Louisiana and Texas, MISO has asked the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to create a new cost allocation zone for Texas, excluding most of Louisiana, so this project's costs could be more equitably allocated.

MISO expects FERC to act in late January, Brian Pedersen, MISO Competitive Transmission Task Team liaison, told MISO's Planning Advisory Committee Tuesday.

If the new cost allocation zone is approved, the MISO board would be asked to approve the new Hartburg-Sabine Junction project on February 5, and an RFP would be issued February 6, Pedersen said.

The process is thereafter expected to occur in the following sequence:

-- July 20: proposal submission deadline
-- January 2, 2019: announcement of selected developer
-- No later than June 1, 2023: facility in-service date

The process for qualifying developers to submit proposals would begin January 5 and continue into the second quarter of 2018, Pedersen said.

--Mark Watson, markham.watson@spglobal.com
--Edited by Annie Siebert, ann.siebert@spglobal.com